If you want vegan moisturizers that nourish your delicate skin and don’t compromise your ethics, you’ve come to the right place.
While the cooler months of the year do have some positives (holidays, cozy knitwear, etc.), dry skin is not one of them. Lower humidity levels, wind exposure, and indoor heating can sap our skin’s natural moisture, leaving it feeling tight, dull, rough, and even uncomfortably itchy. This is why it makes sense to invest in a good moisturizer at this time of year. The right cream can help to restore that all-important moisture barrier, seal in hydration, and reduce any painful cracking or chapping.
Add to those benefits the fact that the ethical skincare market is growing. By 2028, the global vegan cosmetics market as a whole is expected to reach more than $24 billion. This is a big jump from 2020 when it was still valued at a sizable $12 billion. From luxury to budget, here are seven top vegan, cruelty-free moisturizers, all of which are deeply hydrating, softening, and restorative.
Skin moisturizer ingredients
Skin moisturizers often comprise a blend of ingredients, each designed to address different aspects of skin health. These components work in tandem to ensure the skin is well-hydrated, nourished, and protected from external aggressors.
Humectants are a pivotal component in many moisturizers. These substances, such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid, are adept at attracting moisture from the atmosphere and drawing it into the skin. This helps to increase the water content of the skin’s outer layer, promoting a plump and hydrated appearance.
Emollients, which include oils and lipids like jojoba oil and shea butter, are another crucial ingredient. They function by filling the spaces between skin cells, effectively smoothing and softening the skin’s surface. By doing so, they create a smoother texture and assist in restoring the skin’s natural lipid barrier.
In addition to these, occlusives, such as petroleum jelly are used to form a protective barrier on the skin’s surface. This layer helps to seal in moisture and prevents it from evaporating, ensuring the skin remains hydrated for longer periods. But petroleum is a byproduct of gasoline (it’s made of petroleum, after all!), and not ideal if you’re looking for natural skincare. Fortunately, there are a number of alternatives to harsh chemical ingredients, including alternatives to petroleum jelly.
Vegan skin moisturizers
Keep your skin hydrated and fresh feeling with vegan moisturizers free from common animal ingredients such as lanolin and beeswax. These may have moisturizing properties, but they’re exploitative and linked to the climate crisis. Plus, plant-based ingredients work as well (or better) than animal ingredients, too, as these products prove.
Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer
Biossance tops most “best beauty product” lists for a reason. The brand prioritizes both high-performance ingredients and sustainability to produce formulas that will leave your skin feeling nourished, without compromising the earth’s natural resources.
This clarifying moisturizer, for example, contains ultra-hydrating plant-derived squalane (an ingredient that can sometimes be sourced from sharks), as well as potent encapsulated probiotics. The result is a “featherweight moisturizer” that will soothe redness, minimize pores, and calm irritation.
Pai Love and Haight
Pai describes this hydrating moisturizer as “an infinity pool for parched skin,” and it’s a pretty accurate comparison. This is largely down to the brand’s choice of ingredients. The product combines avocado, which has an anti-inflammatory, hydrating effect, with jojoba oil, which can help to repair damaged skin. The result is a light, buttery, nourishing, and softening cream, which is ideal for dry and eczema-prone skin.
Upcircle Face Moisturizer
If you’re concerned about beauty waste, then Upcircle Beauty is always a great brand choice. The majority of its packaging is made with easily recyclable materials like glass, aluminum, and cardboard, and for items that aren’t easily recyclable, it offers refills. But as well as sustainability, this beauty brand also prioritizes effective, nourishing formulas, of course. This brightening, restorative face moisturizer is enriched with vitamin E, aloe vera, and coconut butter, all of which unite to create a hydration powerhouse.
Youth to the People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream
Adaptogens are natural ingredients that help the body adapt to stress—in this case, skin stress. Ingredients like plant squalane, jojoba, and shea butter work alongside a pro-grade peptide complex to calm, hydrate, and soothe your skin when it’s looking, and feeling, aggravated (which, let’s be honest, is a common occurrence in the harsh winter months).
Tata Harper Superkind Fortifying Moisturizer
When it comes to ingredients, Tata Harper is all about more is more. The luxury brand packs its formulas with the most effective, potent natural ingredients, like shea butter, safflower seed oil, mulberry seed oil, apple seed oil, and calendula extract, all of which will immediately get to work on healing and calming your dry, damaged skin, so that you can reap the rewards in no time.
Versed Skin Soak
Versed’s Skin Soak does exactly what the name implies: soaks your skin with restorative, nourishing ingredients, like vitamin E, squalane, and antioxidant-rich algae extract, in order to soften, smooth, and hydrate. At less than $18, this rich, lightweight formula is also a bargain find.
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